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Through the kindness of local accountancy firm, James Cowper Kreston, some of our Year 11 students have had the opportunity to attend weekly coaching sessions at Wokingham Waterside Centre, learning skills in paddling and working toward their instructor qualification in kayaking and canoeing.

It has been such a joy to see our students get to grips with the following skills and grow in their confidence each week:

- Using buoyancy aids confidently and helping one another with these

- Choosing a suitable craft for their activity: SUP, canoe or kayak (either sitting on top or in a closed cockpit)

- Fitting the craft out, including moving footrests, understanding the importance of connectivity (keeping a tight fit with the boat) and keeping knees and feet firmly in place

- Capsizing and self-rescuing using a spray deck (which is no mean feat as this involves swimming to the bank with the boat and paddle, then emptying the craft!)

- Launching and exiting a craft from the water in various ways, including from a bank or a beach

- Forward and reverse paddling, looking over their shoulders whilst manoeuvring

- Using a draw stroke with the paddle to move sideways

- Manoeuvring through narrow spaces using a stern rudder to keep the craft under their control

- Stopping the craft within four strokes of reverse paddling

- Practising rescue skills using a carabinier and sling.

The boys have shown tremendous perseverance in learning these skills and have been brilliant at supporting and encouraging one other. It has been fantastic to listen to their commentary and explanations for their actions through the sessions. 

One of our students has completed his Paddle Sport, Safety and Rescue Course over the summer, demonstrating what a fantastic skill this is in real world situations.